Christmas cheesecake
Rich, indulgent, and irresistible -- that's the best way to describe this elegant dish. Whether for brunch or dinner, it's a wonderful (and delicious) way to celebrate the holiday season.

From the pecan crust and creamy filling studded with dried fruits soaked in orange liqueur to the sour cream topping, everything about this dessert is ambrosial. An update of an old family recipe, it is perfect to end a special dinner on Christmas Eve or Day.

This delectable cake comes with other bonuses for holiday cooks. It can be baked and garnished a day (even two!) ahead and improves in flavor as it rests in the fridge.

It is easily transported in a cake carrier to another site, and it serves 12 to 14 with generous portions. Best of all, this beautiful confection looks as if it requires far more work than it actually does. It should definitely bring requests for seconds, if it lasts that long!

Christmas Cheesecake

Servings: 12 to 14

1 cup finely ground pecans
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
1 cup confectioner's sugar
8 Tbsps unsalted butter, melted

Filling and topping:
1/2 cup plus golden raisins, plus 2 Tbsps for garnish
6 tablespoons dried cranberries, plus 2 Tbsps for garnish
1/4 cup finely diced dried apricots, plus 2 Tbsps for garnish
1/4 cup currants, plus 2 tablespoons for garnish
1/3 cup orange liqueur such as Cointreau or Grand Marnier
1 1/2 pounds cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup sugar